The boy would wander around, noticing that other children similar in age would make the same type of mistakes he made: climbing a tree and falling out when their mothers had clearly stated the underlying dangers prior to; slicing their thumb open when their fathers had clearly defined how sharp objects would cut; or touching a hot stove even, after their grandmas told them it would burn.
The boy committed these acts and learned from them, as did other kids. Sometimes, he listened to the voice of reason and avoided burns and cuts and broken bones. And sometimes, he had to learn the hard way, through the agonizing pain of experience.
At times, the little boy would reflect on his bad decisions and think, “Man, I’ll never make that mistake again.” And then he would ponder how wonderful it would be to one day become an adult and enter the world of those who have lived and learned and finally knew everything. You know … a world of wisdom, where people identified right from wrong and therefore made few mistakes. And when they did, they were quick to correct them and take responsibility for their actions.
As a boy, I can’t remember at what magical age I thought adulthood began. Maybe 21, since that was when you could legally consume alcohol. Or possibly 18, right after you graduated high school. Or even more likely, 25, which I equated to being done with college – a time when, theoretically, one should be well into making one’s own living and buying one’s own home.
Regardless, that age … that threshold of officially entering adulthood, never really materialized. It happened, but there was never a clear point in our Monopoly board world that said, “Welcome to Adultland. Please collect $200.”
As adults, we continue to live and learn, yet we recommence in our erring ways, which is undeniably human and not necessarily something to be ashamed of. But maybe the difference between growing older and growing up is the capacity to admit those instances in which you make mistakes, and then accept full responsibility. I can think of at least one ex-governor who might have benefited from it.
To err is human. To forgive, divine. To admit … is integrity.
I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.